Latics produced a stunning comeback as they secured a well-earned victory in stoppage time which ended Port Vale’s impressive unbeaten run.
David Worrall began the scoring with a cultured finish before Davis Keillor-Dunn headed his side level before the interval.
James Gibbons, who put on an impressive display, restored the visitors lead in front of the travelling contingent. However, Sam Hart became the hero for Oldham as he smashed past their goalkeeper to equalise with minutes to spare.
In added time, Hart fired another effort goalwards which took a deflection off visiting defender Aaron Martin to wrong-foot Lucas Covolan and secure a vital three points for his team.
Keith Curle opted for fives changes for the clash against the Valiants with Jamie Hopcutt, Ouss Cisse, Sam Hart, Zak Dearnley and Nicky Adams back in the starting XI. Dylan Bahamboula was unavailable for selection due to illness and Tottenham Hotspur loanee Jamie Bowden missed out through suspension.
Latics’ shot-stopper was called into action as he kept Tom Conlon at bay inside the opening 20 minutes. Their skipper received possession on the edge of the box before he adjusted his posture to curl an effort goalwards, but Jayson Leutwiler denied him.
Darrell Clarke’s side broke the deadlock through a former Latic in the 20th minute of the encounter. Gibbons rallied down the left-hand side and he delivered a low cross into the danger zone which found Worrall at the back post, the wideman remained composed to fire his ball into the roof of the net.
Dearnley looked to get his name on the scoresheet but found their ‘keeper in fine form. First, the forward picked up the ball inside the penalty area before he witnessed Covolan parry his curled effort away. Following that, his long-distance strike was easily saved by the Brazilian goalkeeper, who remarkably scored in the Vanarama National League play-off final in June 2021.
However, Keillor-Dunn found a way past Covolan in the 32nd minute to get his team level. Carl Piergianni managed to steer the ball towards the attack-minded player inside the six-yard box and, he coolly flicked his header into the back of the net.
In the 41st minute, there was a heartfelt moment as fans around the ground partook in a minute’s applause to show their support for Latics fan, Michael Taylor. Mike’s currently struggling with Covid-19 in hospital and we hope that he returns to health as soon as possible.
After the restart, the Burslem-based outfit should’ve taken the lead again. Ben Garrity, a midfielder that spent the 2020/21 campaign on loan at Latics, teed up Gibbons inside the box, but the full-back smashed his strike over Leutwiler’s crossbar from a promising position.
Although, Gibbons would go on to give Vale the advantage after persistent work from David Amoo on the right-flank. The winger burst into a crossing position before he picked out the full-back with a low delivery and their academy product blasted his effort past Leutwiler which led to an eruption in the away end behind the goal.
Harrison McGahey nearly made it two goals in two games for himself, but he was thwarted by their number one between the sticks. The ball landed at the central-defender’s feet inside the six-yard box and he fizzed an attempt on target, but Covolan put his body on the line to prevent the scoreline from being level.
The visitors went in search for a third and Conlon, calm and composed throughout the 90 minutes, witnessed his powerful driven strike cannon off the far post to the relief of the Latics ‘keeper.
After applying plenty of pressure on Port Vale, once again, Oldham got themselves on level terms in the match. Hart picked the ball inside the six-yard box, and he fired past Covolan before reeling away with a passionate celebration.
In the 93rd minute, Latics dramatically found the winner as Hart’s strike was deflected past the goalkeeper by his own defender causing bedlam on and off the pitch. This is the first-time that Oldham have beaten Vale on home turf since August 2013 when Adam Rooney scored a brace and James Dayton netted a stunning strike.
Oldham Athletic XI – Leutwiler (GK), Clarke (Couto 59’), Hart, Cisse (Hope 55’), McGahey, Piergianni ©, Adams (Fage 59’), Whelan, Keillor-Dunn, Dearnley, Hopcutt.
Unused Subs: Southerington (GK), Stobbs, Bettache, Simms.
Goals: Keillor-Dunn 31’, Hart 81’, 93’
Port Vale XI – Covolan (GK), Gibbons, Jones, Worrall (Legge 77’), Garrity (Taylor 77’), Conlon ©, Martin, Amoo (Politic 85’), Rodney, Pett, Cass.
Unused Subs: Stone (GK), Walker, Johnson, Lloyd.
Goals: Worrall 20’, Gibbons 52’
Attendance: 6,080 (1,973 away)
Referee – Carl Brook